Fertility treatment is a relatively safe field of medicine with little possibility for serious complications. Provided you are being treated at a reputable clinic, the risks from IVF treatment are very low.
However, complications can, and sometimes do, arise. It's important to be aware of these potential issues, no matter how unlikely they may be, before agreeing to any form of fertility treatment.
The greatest risk from IVF treatment is multiple births. Although, many women will be overjoyed with twins or even triplets, the risks associated with multiple births are far higher than those of single births.
The health risks from multiple births affect both the mother and the unborn babies. Rates of miscarriage are several times higher for multiple births, and there is an increased risk of serious health disorders in the babies, such as cerebral palsy.
Another risk of IVF treatment involves the drugs commonly used in such procedures. It is not uncommon for women to have a mild reaction to fertility drugs causing hot flushes, headaches, irritability and restlessness. However, more serious side effects are very rare.
Infertility treatment can also cause ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS). This is where the body overreacts to the fertility drugs used to stimulate the eggs. Symptoms tend to be mild in nature, and include nausea and stomach pains. In rare cases, vomiting, shortness of breath, and stomach swelling can also occur.
Some studies have shown a slightly increased risk of ectopic pregnancy from IVF treatment. This is where a fertilised egg implants itself outside the womb. If left untreated, an ectopic pregnancy can rupture causing severe internal bleeding. Five women a year die from the condition in the UK.
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